Batman & Robin (1997) – Joel Shumacher

 

Ugh, and you thought Quest for Peace was bad. My time with the Dark Knight hits an all time low as my journey with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book continues. This is, quite possibly, the singular worst movie in the entire history of superhero films, and the fault all rests squarely on director Joel Schumacher’s shoulders as well as those suits at Warner Brothers who thought this was a good idea.

George Clooney, whose Batman and Bruce Wayne voices are exactly the same, dons the cowl this time, after Val Kilmer didn’t elect to return, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him and everyone else that was associated with this travesty.

Continuing it’s ridiculous, over-the-top style of the previous movie this one ends up being too gauche, too gaudy, has too many gadgets, too many crap lines, too many batsuit butt shots, too much stupidity, just too too!

Arnold Schwarzenegger headlines the film as Mr. Freeze (and the puns coming from his character are so insanely bad) who is stealing a diamon as the film opens, to design a superweapon to freeze the city, while working on a cure to save his wife… that second part would have been a great story if played darker, and more brooding. But no, this film has no respect for itself, its audience of the material on which it is based.

Chris O’Donnell returns as Robin, and he seems as uncomfortable as Clooney, despite his appearing in the previous film. Uma Thurman shows up as Pamela Isley, who becomes the avenging angel of Mother Nature, Poison Ivy, with a ridiculous version of Bane (Jeep Swenson) at her side.

freezeandpam

That may be the most offensive thing, of many, that is at play in this film. In the comic series, Bane was stronger than Batman, and was at least as clever if not more so, how else would he have been able to practically cripple Bruce by breaking his back? But instead, we get a dumbed-down monosyllabic brute who is just there as some disposable muscle.

When the villains all descend on Gotham, inanity follows, and you’d wish someone would just erase everything associated from this movie from existence. A lot of these things would have totally worked in the 60s Adam West series, but it was a different style and time, here it just feels stupid. Only here would you find Batman and Robin going up against the villains by playing a hockey game. And in what world would two vigilantes be hosting a charity ball?!?

And there’s Alicia Silverstone as Barbara/Batgirl… Barbara Gordon has a long and important history in the DC Universe… but you know what would be great? If we changed her name, and made her Alfred Pennyworth’s (Micheal Gough) niece instead.

And the increasingly ridiculous costumes!!!

This film bombed, and quite rightly so, as it showed that Warner Brothers (at the time, as there are lots of current evidence that this has changed, especially in the television realm) had absolutely no respect for DC material.

Perhaps that was why we didn’t have another Batman film for another 8 years!

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